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Susquehanna Life

Garden Shed: 5 Foods Anyone Can Grow at Home

By Erica L. Shames

The coronavirus pandemic has made many of us rethink the way we live. It’s made us cautious, even apprehensive, about the future. Growing your own food is one way to feel more in control of your destiny. And it's easier than you think. 

Here are 5 foods you can easily grow at home—indoors or in your garden.

While waiting for the garlic bulbs to form, trim the green fonds and use them to add flavor to scrambled eggs

1. Onions and garlic: Not only are they easy to grow, but if you store onions correctly, they can last up to eight months. And garlic bulbs will keep for months in the freezer (you can break off one clove at a time and keep the rest frozen).

How to grow: To grow onions and garlic, look out for those green shoots that start to sprout from garlic and onions in your bin. Plant them as whole onion bulbs or single garlic cloves in well-drained soil (either in the ground or in a large pot). Try to make sure they’re in the soil by around spring or autumn and let them grow until the end of the season, remembering to water them—of course!  

Basil and chives will grow happily in a sunny window box or in a plant box by the window

2. Herbs: Fresh herbs can make even the most boring meals tasty, but they can cost a lot and are difficult to keep fresh. You can grow a wide variety of herbs in a window box, outside in pots or in the garden.

How to grow herbs: You can either grab some seeds or a potted herb plant from a garden center. Basil, chives, parsley and sage will grow happily in a sunny window box or in a plant pot by the window, and oregano, thyme, mint and rosemary will all do well both indoors and outside in a garden.

Strawberry plants will keep producing year after year

3. Strawberries: Who doesn't love a juicy strawberry in their breakfast cereal or homemade fruit salad?

How to grow: You can plant strawberry plants in pots or in the garden, as long as they don’t get too waterlogged.  If you take good care of them they'll keep producing fruit year after year.

You can grow lettuce in a pot on a window

4. Lettuce: The great thing about salad leaves is that you can grow them all year round if you pick different varieties according to the seasons.

How to grow: Grow them in the ground if you have space, or in a window box if you have a loose-leaf variety. Salad leaves grow quickly. Plant seeds in the summer months and you will have leaves big enough to put on your sandwiches in three or four weeks!

If slugs eat them, ward them off with crushed eggshells or salt placed around your plants.

You can pick your tomatoes when they're green and let them brighten on a sunny windowsill

5. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a delicious staple in a variety of dishes, and homegrown tomatoes taste good enough to eat by themselves. 

How to grow: You can either buy tomato seeds and plant them, or opt for a young plant that already has a vine to start producing tomatoes sooner. Once the plants are large enough, you can transfer them to a pot or your garden. Tie each plant to a wooden stake using garden wire to help plants stay upright; treating them with tomato fertilizer will keep them healthy.

Once they've started to turn red, it’s time to pick them. You can also harvest tomatoes if they're still a bit green/unripened; just place them on your windowsill until they fully ripen. Store them on your counter, not in the refrigerator.

Other Easy Growers

Some foods can be regrown from scraps. Place an avocado seed, ginger root or spring onion bottom in water until roots appear and then replant in an indoor pot or your garden.

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